Last Days

Image credit; Kellepics @ Pixabay

The ghosts
of religion: hipsters,
academics, suburbanites
in confession: by coffins cradling
amen-ing old women
stoned.

And you’re singing
the tomcat blues;
you’re whistling
a lazy cat’s tunes.

And a pigeon
on a sidewalk colored
a tinsel rainbow
says the Captain’s
coming back soon.


Shay/Fireblossom's Word Garden Word List #4 (Laura Nyro)
Mish at dVerse Quadrille #142 ("tinsel", 44 words)
Sadje's What Do You See #112

Somewhere

Somewhere
I can find a rainbow
smuggled in like an overcoat
thrown across my shoulders
in chilly December.

Somewhere
I will see a dark window
where a winged angel sits cradling
a homeless soul on a grimy ledge
over D.C.’s VIP traffic.

Somewhere
maybe what we don’t yet know
will be all that is true power
faith beyond snip and tucked illusions
on venal wrinkling faces.


Carrie's Sunday Muse #190 photo prompt
Sammi's Weekend Writing Prompt#239: 66 words exactly, "smuggle"

Inheritance Imperishable (inspired by 1 Peter 1:1-9)

Golden cup St. John’s wort (Hypericum patulum) ©dorahak

          You, exiles, foreigners, chosen ones,

          You, faith-walkers, word-doers, beatituders1

          You, cross-bearers, joy-bringers, gospel-lovers

          You, sanctified, baptized, crucified, dead but alive to God

          You, raised up with Christ, co-heirs with Him2

          You, trial-shoulderers, sin-mourners, grief-carriers

          You, compassion-clad, mudlark scavengers of world-weary souls

          You, yourselves poor, despised, nobodies scorned3

          Beloved of God, glory-bound

          You

                    catch the light in golden cups of faith
                    catch it, taste it, see how good His Word
                    catch it freely with a living hope

                    catch sun-filled manna, multiplied grace
                    peace as it settles like a priceless crown
                    upon your head in splendor untarnished

                    catch the light with your open heart
                    newborn soul with ears to hear
                    Song of songs from Your Father’s throne

                    catch it as a prayer upon your tongue
                    sounding the depths of Love unknown
                    but for the babe in a manger born

                    catch the light and let faith loose
                    kindled incense upward bound
                    sent like sparks to heaven’s court

                    catch joy unspeakable, unbounded love
                    the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
                    come in power to dwell with you


1 Peter 1:9
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,
who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,
so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.


1The Beatitudes are characteristics and blessings listed in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:1-12

2Romans 8:16-17 “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”

31 Corinthians 1:26-29 “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.”

section in bold italics:
Sammi's weekend writing prompt: 52 words, "Mudlarks"
Eugi's weekly prompt: "Compassion"
Have a blessed First Sunday of Advent everyone!

Judgment Day

Come along and join in with Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers.
Rochelle asks that we use the photo prompt 
and limit our words to 100 or less. 
Click on the frog to read more stories.

photo prompt © Ted Strutz

Genre: Realism
Word Count: 100

Narrator: dorahak Background: Arctic White Noise and Wind (link)

Judgment Day

Cur Deus homo.* Why? Blindly, we sail past the pinnacle of what we could be.

The cruise ship Earth is all fun and games. Whether the fun intended causes others misery or not isn’t part of the equation. The equation only includes playing gods, every individual for himself, the rich richer, the poor poorer because they were losers. Losers become slaves because that’s how the game is played.

Like the pharaohs of old, we will take the living into hell with us.

Out across the ice, I see Frankenstein chasing his monster. And the worm turns.

Judgment Day.


*Cur Deus Homo (Latin for “Why a God Human?”), usually translated Why God Became a Man, is a book written by Anselm of Canterbury in the period of 1094–1098. In this work he proposes the satisfaction view of the atonement.

In its preface, Anselm gives his reason for writing the book:

I have been often and most earnestly requested by many, both personally and by letter, that I would hand down in writing the proofs of a certain doctrine of our faith, which I am accustomed to give to inquirers; for they say that these proofs gratify them, and are considered sufficient. This they ask, not for the sake of attaining to faith by means of reason, but that they may be gladdened by understanding and meditating on those things which they believe; and that, as far as possible, they may be always ready to convince any one who demands of them a reason of that hope which is in us.

Preface to Cur Deus Homo, transl. Sidney Dean in St. Anselm
The beginning of the Cur Homo‘s prologue, from a 12th-century manuscript held at Lambeth Palace

Memory’s Brew

Something haunting for the autumnal season; also a humorous one involving cuddly kittens, here.

photo prompt © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Genre: Poetry
Word Count: 100

Memory’s Brew

Two shakers and ketchup
A pinch of salt, a dash of pepper
Dollop of sauce, a half mug of beer
Ice water for awakening
The dead will appear

The wine left in a glass
Holds a hint and a promise
Your laughter, “hold the pickle!”
Still haunts something wicked
Like you’ll never disappear

I will not cry when you come
Shed no tear as you sit down
But I will wonder anew
As my undead love for you
Refashions and reappears

Have I concocted a spell
Unearthed memories
Conjured a ghost?
Appearances deceive
In this deli, you live


Come along and join in with Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers.
Rochelle asks that we use the photo prompt 
and limit our words to 100 or less. 
Click on the frog to read more stories.

Continuum

Salvador Dalí. (Spanish, 1904-1989). The Persistence of Memory. 1931

Five minutes ago
insurance was on the phone
something needed watching
a chore couldn’t be ignored
prescriptions waited in the hallway
voices cluttered up the inbox
the sun was breaking hot
motes star-fished into eyes
death landed on the floor
space folded into halves
you went into your room
the music turned up loud
in the spaces of my heart
where you still pace and pray
the speakers turned up high
distance crumpling in my hand
the clock stretched round a bend
five minutes ago


For dVerse's Open Link Night 293 hosted by Lisa. Click on Mr. Linky and meet us there!

Writer’s Block: A Brown Study in Haibun

I want to start a poem like this: I am brown, very brown. Then I get writer’s block. Because now it’s out there.

There’s a story to tell, but it’s not poetic. It’s definitional. I have to define wheatish, fair, tan, light-skinned, black, white, and all the colors that separate you and me, and beat us into submission, into bearing the crimes of our color, even though not once have I cried because I was dark brown. But I have cried because you spoke to my skin color and not to me.

And tears are wordless, colorless. Their salt shorts out syllables, keyboards, laptops. Already I taste it on my tongue. So I eat the heart of a dragon and listen to the gossip of birds.

A blackbird flies south
Its shadow falls on Mt. Fuji
Western sun descends

Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) “Tea house at Koishikawa. The morning after a snowfall”
Frank at dVerse asks us to write on Writer's Block for Haibun Monday. 
The haibun form "consists of one to a few paragraphs of prose
—usually written in the present tense—that evoke an experience and are 
often non-fictional/autobiographical. They may be preceded or followed 
by one or more haiku—nature-based, using a seasonal image—that complement without directly repeating what the prose stated. 
Click on Mr. Linky to join in!


Trade-off

PHOTO PROMPT© Liz Young
Genre: Realism; Word count: 100
Come along and join in with Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers.
Rochelle asks that we use the photo prompt 
and limit our words to 100 or less. 
Click on the frog to read more stories.

Trade-off

— It looks fabulous!
— What does?
— Isn’t that heaven?
— Those are elevators.
— Can I go on one?
— No. You have to take the stairs. You don’t have a golden pass.
— Why not?
— You can’t afford it.
— But I have money!
— It’s not just money. It’s talking a certain way, shopping at the approved stores, socializing with the proper sort, voting for the prescribed party.
— Well, I’ll do all those things then.
— Okay. But first I have to tape your mouth shut, blindfold you, tie up your legs and lobotomize you.
— And then I’ll get to take the golden elevators?
— Yes.
— Okay.

You Were Four

Her father died on June 27, 2021 of covid.

You were four with a Daddy
when you laid out dancing colors
of pink, blue, green and purple

When you were four and a day
the colors went orange viral
of corona, corona everywhere

You sat half-hidden in shadow
your diamond father stolen from you
with black words like ICU

Now pink, blue, green and purple
have fled a world of frightening red
your mother widowed in white

And you are four and counting
looking back at days of gray
a rainbow shining over you: we pray


Reena at Xploration Challenge gives us an update on the four-year-old pictured above: “I came across a heart-wrenching picture of a drawing by a 4-year old, whose father [was] battling lung failure due to Covid in hospital. When asked what was it she had drawn, she said “Corona, Corona …. Everywhere Corona.” The entire family was infected, but all others have recovered…. She lost her father today. Her mother, whom I see as an exceptionally strong woman, fought till the end, staying afloat with her Buddhist beliefs and chanting “Nam myth renge Kyo.” It kept her going, if nothing else. She is totally deflated now, after the incident. She, who led a fatherless life (her father being a drug-addict), just uttered the words ‘My daughters will meet the same fate.'”

A Rose To You

a rose to you and you and you
dear readers that stumbled onto this page
and familiar friends who’ve long remained
through drought or storm as balmy days
faithful ones who exchange the fruits
gleaned from weedy words and pruned vines
some tangy to the taste or sweetly spiced
all enlivened with the sunlit labor of moments
transcribed to screens of dispersed bytes
to be received like petals furled and unfurled
as if a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose
when given in love

Unspoken Stretches

Floral display in front of St Paul’s Cathedral, London, August 2020;
Copyright Debbie Smyth; Used by permission

Unspoken Stretches

The newly sprung Black-Eyed Susans, the weighty towers of St. Paul’s,
Touch the sky equally, centuried grandiose the one, the other idly,
Like the newborn in her pram reaching talcumed arms to a light blue
Or the redoubtable keen-eyed woman, confined within, searching clouds,
Hope-stretched each, bodies strung diversely, each her own,
Stalwart with suffering and age, supple green in yearning:
My God, not to touch the sky, but that You would touch our faces
And by that material touch, transfigure space and time to glory, joy unspeakable.


2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Revelation 22:20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

nota bene

Verses on the futility of unread books, presented as a nota bene (handwriting Hs. I 300, City Library of Mainz)

“Take this down,” I said. Two shades sprang up, one more agile than the other, stood poised and ready.

I ran my fingers along a dusty mantel.

How to begin?

“To Whom It May Concern.” Friends.

I hesitated, unaccustomed to the sunlight streaming in through my two windows to the world at large.

“Now reblogged, then nominated, somehow . . . ” despite the shadows.

I squint into the sunny brightness, the dust motes like butterflies.

“. . . to both a due and hearty thanks . . . .” surely no more, no less rather than to carry on so til grace given is grace lost.

“That will do.”

The shades sprang down from their high perches, still gaping, and light stood like pillars under their cargo.

Even so back to books and lamplight, and Thou, my guardian.

Thoughts at Dusk, April 2020

There’s no news but breeds new fears
In the flickering light as dusk falls
In the last cry of a distant bird
In the misshapen shadows of the unseen
Within cloistered walls.

Bated breath and heaving sighs
The chill alarm of a sickness bred
In a distant lab, a plague let loose
Not of locusts or frogs but airborne
Contagion, the ghost of times gone.

In the night an insistent distress
A job lost, and mouths to feed,
A waiting game for a government check
One nightmare subsides only to waken
Another in the fell dark.

A manic wind pulls the screen door free
What have we let in, what have we to do;
Across the street, above the lampposts
A twinkling starry host and the watchful moon
Shine their peace.

Technitos

So happy to share with you another short story from Wallie’s Wentletrap, this time published in the current Summer 2017 issue of The Sonder Review. The story “Technitos,” can also viewed here, and will particularly interest those with a bent for science fiction (androids, techs, & such) but is finally a deeply moving tale about, as the editors of the SR put it,  just what it means to be human. So take a look & see if it isn’t worth your time!

Dickens Considered In Media Res

It’s a rickety, rollicking ride I’m on
Reading Uncle’s “Our Mutual Friend”
On the tide of the Thames as it rolls along
Dragging me in its mysterious wake
With Veneerings and Rimtys and inspectors
That lurk behind the John Harmons, who as easily
Could be: the Annikovs or Huangs, or Pillais
Or Chandras hawking rumors by the Ganges
In the myriad scenario of humanity’s flow
From the pen of a master storyteller, caught
In the blood-spun net of familiar lives
Of desperation, pathos, or tartuffery
Spent on the banks of labyrinthian rivers
That wend to shores around the world
And stay to balance on my fingertips.

An illustration from Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend (1864–65)

The Author, the Word

If an author needs a reader
To see with different eyes
The words that she has written
Which once were on her heart,
The reader needs the author
To show her other worlds
That only words can offer
As a bridge to different hearts.

Still better is the Author
Who became the Word in flesh
And walked among the suffering,
Our griefs upon His heart,
Who with divine compassion
Bore our sins upon His cross
Then wrote in broken hearts
His unending song of Love.

Continue reading “The Author, the Word”

Jane’s Holiday Poem

December came with grim aplomb, and I in hiding
From screaming carts down shopping aisles, the alarming
Wreaths with fragrant graveside cheer, and Marley unchained,
Playing false, outdone by someone else’s fireside hearth
And ham and pudding and drinks strung out like cards
Upon a fraying thread and skewers of mercilessly toasted goodwil

Somewhere a child cries, silence falls, and sputtering, the eruptions
Begin again until the wearied season dies a strangled death
Of colored lights.

I am no Scrooge to cry “Humbug!” and gladly would the season
Cheer but that the ghosts of Christmases past have failed to melt
The stony heart, have instead encased it in icy blasts that speak
Of days unwarmed by hope that some in Bethlehem’s manger found.
I would so look to find, so tread the pew-filled aisles, so fly open
The holy script to reveal a silent night divine to my own gaze.

But I’ll see you on a cold-eyed morn in haste to greet the darkness
With merry cheer. It avails you scarce goodwill from me or mine.
Such holy fear as gripped the hillside night two thousand years ago,
When men were abuzz with the angel-heralded news of a Savior born,
This holy fear, this unfettered joy I would discover one glorious endless dawn.


John 3:16-21
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

I Like the Climate of Your Mind

img_3850

I like the climate of your mind
Where in refuge I linger while
All round the stormy winds may rage
Like beasts distraught and wild.

Within the sphere of your regard
I stay to feast on temperate calm
As breezes blow that only serve
To sweeten sunlit climes.

Here tangled thoughts lose their knots,
Unsort their tattered ends to find
Like scattered streams that crooked ran
Now meet their just repose.

On airy mounts of deep delight
Knowledge dwells in humble cheer
As freely light the dark dispels to show
The ground whereon we tread.

I like the climate of your mind, my dear,
Enthralled I’ve lingered long
As in God’s grace your graces grow,
The more you I grow to love.